Liverpool have agreed a deal, in principle, to sign Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen. The promising German midfielder's transfer was announced on the Reds' official Twitter account, signalling Brendan Rodgers' second signing of the summer after Rickie Lambert moved to his boyhood side:
Can's transfer is "subject to documentation being completed," according to the Merseyside team's official website. The finer details of the deal, including the 20-year-old's contract length and wages, are likely to become public when intricacies are completed.
Neil Jones of the Liverpool Echo confirmed Can will move at the start of next month, an accelerated switch perhaps due to his lack of involvement in this summer's World Cup:
LFC will sign Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen. He will move to Anfield on July 1.— Neil Jones (@neiljonesecho) June 5, 2014
Can has a wide range of experience for his age and enjoyed a decent season with Leverkusen after making his switch from Bayern Munich. The versatile player racked up 36 appearances across the Bundesliga and Champions League, scoring three goals and fulfilling a number of roles for the club that finished fourth in the 13-14 domestic championship, per WhoScored.com.
The youngster is likely to have been snapped up on account of his potential and versatility. Can worked hard in the centre of midfield, at centre-back, left-back and even wide of Leverkusen's forward line throughout the recently finished season, indicating he fits straight into Rodgers' ideal of possessing multi-faceted players.
Although his quality is obvious, Christopher Atkins of ESPN FC believes Can isn't the greatest option available at the reported €12 million fee:
Were he to make the move, he would likely play alongside captain and first choice defensive midfielder Steven Gerrard in a double pivot or on the left of a midfield three as he has at his current club, but there is a real question as to whether he currently would represent much of an upgrade on either Joe Allen or Lucas Leiva.
[...] At Leverkusen this season he has been a consistent performer but rarely a standout. As impressive as that is for a player so early in his career, the Reds require more from their signings this time around.
Jan Aage Fjortoft, a German-based pundit, also believes Can may struggle:
Rodgers: Rates Emre Can Me: Doubtful Rodgers: Manager Me: Not Rodgers: Spends 12 mill euro Me: Zero Rodgers: Hope does well Me: Too #LFC— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) June 4, 2014
Ross Dunbar of DW Sports also suggests Can has plenty to prove, but his previous achievements shouldn't be dismissed:
Wasn't convinced by Emre Can, but he did hold down a midfield place for most of the season.— Ross Dunbar (@rossdunbar93) June 5, 2014
Sky Sports' Pete Graves reacted in a different fashion and couldn't hide his excitement toward the German Under-21 international:
So Emre Can on his way to #LFC, agreed in principal after Rodgers activated buyout clause. Great player! Long term StevieG replacement??— Pete Graves (@PeteGravesSky) June 5, 2014
Back Page Football indicated why the developing player may become a fan favourite:
Emre Can, very economical if you're charged by the letter for getting a jersey personalised.— Back Page Football (@bpfootball) June 5, 2014
Right now, Can's acquisition should be seen as Rodgers improving his squad with a long-term view in mind. Liverpool need a bigger pool of hungry individuals next season and should look to those who have something to prove. Rodgers has real faith in youth—you only need to look at the emergence of Raheem Sterling and Jon Flanagan to see that—so Can is likely to receive decent responsibility from the outset.
That said, he'll need to offer more than many of last summer's signings. Players including Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto and Victor Moses failed to significantly improve Liverpool's chances of success, a factor that limited the team's ability to make good on their title run.
Will Emre Can become a Liverpool star?
Rodgers has a starting XI to be feared, but he now needs to pack the squad out with extra assets who can make a real difference. Can's versatility ensures he is convenient, but Bayern Munich's decision not to exercise their buyback clause may raise questions toward his long term prospects. As it stands, he is a talented youngster who needs to work hard in order to become vital at an elite club.
Liverpool fans will no doubt be extremely excited by Can's signing. If there's anyone poised to capitalise on getting the best out of evolving talent, it's Rodgers. Both Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho were firing below their potential before heading to Anfield, a move that bolstered their output massively and ensured they are key players in the club's exciting future.